I keep asking, what exactly do they teach in Journalism school? or is everything just clickbait these days? We’ve had a rash of screaming Doomist headlines on climate issues this summer.

Mike Mann tweeted a reprimand to headline writers who apparently got way out ahead of what an expert allegedly told their reporter.

Guardian:

And this is just the beginning, insists McGuire, who is emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London. As he makes clear in his uncompromising depiction of the coming climatic catastrophe, we have – for far too long – ignored explicit warnings that rising carbon emissions are dangerously heating the Earth. Now we are going to pay the price for our complacency in the form of storms, floods, droughts and heatwaves that will easily surpass current extremes.

The crucial point, he argues, is that there is now no chance of us avoiding a perilous, all-pervasive climate breakdown. We have passed the point of no return and can expect a future in which lethal heatwaves and temperatures in excess of 50C (120F) are common in the tropics; where summers at temperate latitudes will invariably be baking hot, and where our oceans are destined to become warm and acidic. “A child born in 2020 will face a far more hostile world that its grandparents did,” McGuire insists.

Now the quoted expert has come forward to say the headline misrepresents his views.

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Inertia is a built-in feature of traditional thermal generators that drive large turbines. Grid operators have relied on that inertia to help keep grids stable. (See NREL video above for good explainer)
Engineers have already learned how to create “virtual inertia” in solar and wind systems.
Now, batteries will be able to provide the same service.

RenewEconomy:

The Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia, aka the “Tesla big battery”, has finally gained approval to become the first big battery in the world to deliver grid-scale inertia services.

The approval came from the Australian Energy Market Operator after nearly two years of trials and testing, and is considered to be another critical step towards managing a grid with 100 per cent renewables and no coal plants and gas generators in operation.

The Hornsdale battery, owned by Neoen and expanded to 150MW/193MWh in 2020 to help deliver these additional services, will be the first of many such batteries to operate with what are known as “advanced” or “grid forming” inverters.

These inverters are able to deliver many of the critical grid services usually provided by thermal power, but have required detailed testing to help manage the switch from large spinning machines to precise digital technology.

The Hornsdale battery uses Tesla’s “virtual machine mode” technology, and these will be replicated at the Wallgrove battery in NSW, the new Broken Hill battery and Darlington Point battery projects, and others to be supported by a $100 million grant scheme led by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

AEMO says grid forming inverters are critical to a successful transition from a coal based grid to one that could feature an average of more than 90 per cent wind and solar in little more than a decade, and 100 per cent “instant” renewables within three years.

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Fewer, but more destructive storms.

Business Insider:

The natural gas market is still in a state of crisis in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and isn’t likely to get better while war in Europe rages on. 

A report from the International Energy Agency states that natural gas is no longer the reliable and low-cost energy source it once was, and that it’s future is uncertain as global powers battle an energy crunch amid sanctions aimed at curtailing funding for Russia’s war in Ukraine. 

The situation is exacerbated by a myriad of other factors worldwide: a fire at a liquefied natural gas facility in Texas hobbling exports, US industry output suffering from high energy costs, and European factories shuttering for the same reasons, have all helped paint a bleak picture for global energy flows.

“The European Union’s commitment to speed up the phase-out of Russian imports — historically its largest supplier – is transforming Europe’s gas market, with repercussions for global gas dynamics,” the IEA note says.

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Less interested in recent years in what Bill Maher has to say, but he is spot on here.

Below, Science according to Herschel Walker.

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Axios:

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) had a message for her Democratic colleagues before she flew home to Arizona for the weekend: She’s preserving her options.

Why it matters: Sinema has leverage and she knows it. Any potential modification to the Democrat’s climate and deficit reduction package — like knocking out the $14 billion provision on carried interest — could cause the fragile deal to collapse. 

  • Her posture is causing something between angst and fear in the Democratic caucus as senators wait for her to render a verdict on the secret deal announced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin last Thursday. 

Driving the news: Sinema has given no assurances to colleagues that she’ll vote along party lines in the so-called “vote-a-rama” for the $740 billion bill next week, according to people familiar with the matter. 

  • The vote-a-rama process allows lawmakers to offer an unlimited number of amendments, as long as they are ruled germane by the Senate parliamentarian. Senators — and reporters — expect a late night. 
  • Republicans, steaming mad that Democrats have a chance to send a $280 billion China competition package and a massive climate and health care bill to President Biden, will use the vote-a-rama to force vulnerable Democrats to take politically difficult votes.
  • They’ll also attempt to kill the reconciliation package with poison pills — amendments that make it impossible for Schumer to find 50 votes for final passage. 

The intrigue: Not only is Sinema indicating that she’s open to letting Republicans modify the bill, she has given no guarantees she’ll support a final “wrap-around” amendment, which would restore the original Schumer-Manchin deal. 

The big picture: Schumer made a calculated decision to negotiate a package with Manchin in secrecy. He assumed that all of his other members, including Sinema, would fall into line and support the deal.

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NASA Earth Observatory:

Water levels in the Cerro Prieto reservoir, near Guadalupe in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo León, have been declining for years. But a persistent and deepening drought over the past two years has brought the reservoir, built in the 1980s, to its lowest point yet. In July 2022, the reservoir dropped to 0.5 percent of its capacity of 393 million cubic meters (318,000 acre-feet).

The images above, acquired by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8, show Cerro Prieto reservoir on July 7, 2022, at right, and on July 20, 2015, at left. 

Monterrey, the state capital of Nuevo León and Mexico’s second-largest metropolitan area, depends on the Cerro Prieto reservoir for part of its water supply. The reservoir’s depletion has hampered industry, agriculture, and tourism. In the second week of July 2022, when temperatures soared to 40°C (104°F) in Nuevo León, water levels dropped so low in Cerro Prieto that water could no longer be extracted from the lake. In response, Mexico’s national water commission, Conagua, announced emergency measures that included redirecting some industrial and agricultural water allotments to ensure residential supplies.

At the end of June 2022, two-thirds of Mexico was in drought conditions, affecting more than 21 million people. The northern states along the United States border were most affected. Nearly a quarter of the state of Chihuahua and a third of the state of Coahuilawere in exceptional or extreme drought.

There are 130 Million people in Mexico.

France 24:

Mexico has declared a drought emergency to enable authorities to take special measures to guarantee water supplies in hard-hit areas. 

The steps are designed to deal with the effects of a “severe, extreme or exceptional” drought, the national water authority Conagua said in a statement Tuesday.

Among the measures, holders of water concessions for agricultural or industrial use can be ordered to allow their use by third parties.

Authorities in parts of Mexico, including the northern industrial powerhouse of Monterrey, have been forced to ration water use due to depleted reservoirs.

A heat wave and dearth of rain means that households in Monterrey have had running water for only a few hours a day for several weeks.

In some hillside neighborhoods, it has been more than 50 days since residents last saw a drop from their faucets.

In the northwestern state of Baja California, a lack of water supplies has sparked protests in some towns.

In parts of Mexico City, such as the impoverished district of Iztapalapa — home to 1.8 million people — it is common for the authorities to ration water and send tanker trucks to alleviate shortages.

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Sun101 presentation in Sullivan, IN

Took some time this week to run down to rural Indiana in support of Solar energy, and had 2 great sessions with landowners, local officials, and developers in Sullivan, Indiana. Great questions an good people.
I view this as my most important work these days, and it’s bearing fruit.

One cool discovery I made was that one of the world’s largest coal developers, Peabody, has recognized the writing on the wall.

Cision PR Newswire:

 Peabody announced today that it has launched R3 Renewables LLC (“R3” or the “Company”), a renewable energy development company, in a joint venture with Riverstone Credit Partners (“Riverstone”) and Summit Partners Credit Advisors (“Summit Partners”). R3 Renewables will pursue the development of over 3.3 GW of solar PV and 1.6 GW of battery storage capacity over the next five years. The partnership brings together collective strengths in renewable energy project development, environmental management, extensive land holdings, permitting, and capital markets.  

Initially, R3 Renewables will be engaged in the development of six potential sites on large tracts of land on or near previous coal mining operations in Indiana and Illinois. The portfolio size and strategic site locations, each of which is in close proximity to grid injection points, offer the potential for the development of the largest solar and battery storage projects in both Indiana and Illinois. 

“We are pleased to announce this new joint venture as part of Peabody’s commitment to be the coal producer of choice, creating additional value from our existing assets, supporting our own and our customers’ ESG ambitions and providing added economic benefits for the communities in which we work and live,” said Jim Grech, President and CEO of Peabody. “Both Riverstone and Summit Partners have deep experience across energy and growth sectors, and we believe R3 will benefit from their collective perspective on renewable energy solutions.” 

Daniel Flannery, a Managing Director at Riverstone added, “We are excited to partner with Peabody and Summit Partners as we launch R3 Renewables. As one of the world’s largest private investment firms focused on energy, power, decarbonization and infrastructure, we believe we are well positioned to assist R3 Renewables to reclaim, reimagine and repower the region by pursuing these ambitious and transformative renewable energy projects.”  

Industry veteran John Jones has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the Company. John brings nearly 30 years of expertise in the independent power industry, including senior roles at renewable industry leaders GE EFS, Lincoln Clean Energy (now Ørsted North America Onshore) and Invenergy. 

About Peabody

Peabody (NYSE: BTU) is a leading coal producer, providing essential products for the production of affordable, reliable energy and steel. Our commitment to sustainability underpins everything we do and shapes our strategy for the future. For further information, visit PeabodyEnergy.com.

Below, I spoke recently to Peter Schubert at Indiana University about potential energy storage opportunities on abandoned coal mine sites.

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Leah Stokes explains why, yes, it is. Don’t be distracted.

Bloomberg:

The breakthrough spending deal reached by Senators Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer would commit a historic $370 billion to combat climate change through clean energy tax credits, a green bank and incentives to plug methane leaks.

But it comes at a cost that some green activists are finding impossible to accept: More oil and gas lease sales on public lands and waters.

The measures, outlined late Wednesday in the 725-page spending bill, require the sale of drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska. The bill would also make new renewable power projects on federal land and water contingent on future sales.

The legislation illustrates the challenges Democrats have in winning over coal-loving Manchin, a key moderate whose vote is needed in the evenly split Senate, while meeting the rest of his party’s demands to make climate change a major and urgent priority. Manchin’s steadfast support for his home state’s fossil fuel industry has enraged environmentalists, and could lead to yet another setback for the climate agenda of President Joe Biden, who campaigned on a pledge to block new oil and gas drilling on public lands.

No, it’s not “suicide pact”.
It means Oil companies get to bid on leases and put money in the public treasury gambling that the resources they’re bidding for won’t be stranded assets by the time they develop them.

The history of renewable energy suggests that innovations always come faster and cheaper then anyone imagines. One example would be Obama’s controversial “Clean Power Plan”, which was never even put in force, which had goals that have already been exceeded by power producers responding to rapidly evolving markets.
If oil companies want to make that bet I’ll take it every time. Enact the law, let’s go.