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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
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What’s Behind NRG’s Slow Rollout of EV Chargers in California?

What’s Behind NRG’s Slow Rollout of EV Chargers in California?
Only 10 percent of promised chargers have been installed so far.

Katherine Tweed
November 22, 2013

Electric-vehicle drivers may be waiting a while for the superhighway of charging stations that will eventually run up, down and across California.

The Associated Press reported on Thursday that only 10 percent of NRG Energy’s electric car chargers due for installation by December have been installed. Instead of more than 1,000 EV-ready parking spots, only 110 have been completed by NRG’s eVgo. There are plans for 10,000 parking spots equipped with charging stations by the end of 2016.

The plans came about when the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) ordered NRG Energy Inc. to fund a $100 million network of charging stations for electric vehicles, with another $20 million for ratepayer relief. The deal was a way to settle claims against NRG’s predecessor Dynegy, which had failed to fulfill long-term power contracts during California’s 2001 power crisis.

There will be 200 eVgo Freedom Stations that will have both a level 2 240-volt charger and the high-speed, 480-volt chargers. They will mostly be located with easy access to the freeway. The commitment for the other 10,000 is not actual charging stations, but rather EV-ready parking lots with the electrical infrastructure to handle a level 2 charger.

“It’s the largest fast-charging infrastructure to be built in North America, so the scale is quite significant,” said Terry O’Day...


Look How Drastically Intelligent LEDs Can Cut Energy Consumption

Look How Drastically Intelligent LEDs Can Cut Energy Consumption
“The deepest energy savings are possible with the most aggressive controls strategies.”

Stephen Lacey
November 22, 2013

PG&E, California's largest utility, wanted to know how much energy controllable LEDs could save its industrial customers.

It recently found its answer: a lot.

Earlier this year, the utility tested the performance of a networked LED system at a 44,800-square-foot Ace Hardware distribution warehouse in California. The system was installed and controlled by Digital Lumens, a Boston-based company with more than 500 projects deployed in the commercial and industrial sector.

Digital Lumens says its system, which combines monitoring software, building controls and LED fixtures, can save customers up to 90 percent on lighting costs.

As part of a...


BMW says has 10,000 i3 (electric) orders - i8 (plugin hybrid) already sold out

BMW has orders for nearly 10,000 of its i3 electric cars, the first of which were delivered in Germany last week, the company's global sales chief, Ian Robertson, said at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Robertson also said the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car due to be introduced in mid-2014 has sold out for its first year of availability. He did not say how many the company will sell in that first year.


The Answer to Climate Change Is Renewable Energy, Not Nuclear Power

The Answer to Climate Change Is Renewable Energy, Not Nuclear Power
Posted: 11/25/2013 9:44 am
Steven Cohen
Executive Director, Columbia University's Earth Institute

When climate scientists and some energy policy analysts take a "tough-minded" look at the numbers, many come to the conclusion that the only technology now available to replace fossil fuels is nuclear power. Eduardo Porter of the New York Times made that argument last week when he wrote:
...nuclear power remains the cheapest and most readily scalable of the alternative energy sources.

As I indicated this past April, I disagree. There are a number of reasons that nuclear power is a bad solution to the climate crisis. The first is that the technology is really not available. Nuclear power plants are capital-intensive, technologically complex to manage, and difficult, if not impossible, to site. These are not minor issues. Investors would rather put their money elsewhere and communities intensely resist siting a plant in their backyard.

This means that even though we know how to generate electricity this way, and we have many decades of experience doing it, in the U.S. these plants will never be built in sufficient quantity to reduce global warming. In other parts of the world, we might pay attention to the lessons we should be learning in Iran. There is a thin line between the technology of nuclear power generation and the technology of nuclear bomb development. While it's too late to put the nuclear genie back in the bottle, let's stop pretending that human political systems or organizational processes can manage the risks of this technology.

There are other issues associated with current nuclear technologies that render them problematic as well. The toxicity of its fuel and waste, for example, should not be ignored. Catastrophic accidents may be rare, but when they occur, their impact is intense and long-lasting. While a well-managed plant poses little real danger, it is difficult to judge the danger posed by a poorly managed one. One also cannot dismiss the possibility of sabotage. Terrorists taking over a plant and threatening to allow an accident to occur could hold a city hostage.

Electric utilities, like water and sewage utilities, are natural monopolies that require government regulation...


Central Europe’s Bad (Energy) Bet

Central Europe’s Bad Bet
November 22, 2013 - 9:58am | admin

By Paul Hockenos

The ongoing UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw provides a unique opportunity to cast a spotlight on Central Europe’s energy policies. This may come just at the right time because the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia, known as the Visegrad Group, are all in the process of making profound mistakes concerning their energy supplies, which will cost these countries dearly for decades to come.

While most of Europe is investing in renewable energies and planning for low-carbon power supplies, the Visegrad states are committing themselves to a future of coal, nuclear energy, and imported gas and oil. The cost of fossil fuels and nuclear power has soared in recent years, and will continue to increase, while the price of renewable energy has plummeted. Clean-energy technology has also greatly improved. Now that it is cost-effective even for countries with modest means and moderate sunlight, it makes no sense to continue investing in conventional energies.

Flawed energy strategies will not only separate the Visegrad Group from the European mainstream. They will also severely hamper long-term energy security, which is valued above all else. Memories of Russian aggression and postwar Soviet rule naturally make Central Europeans uncomfortable. Today, squeezed between Putin’s Russia and another enormous, historically unfriendly neighbor to their west, Germany, it is understandable that their foremost goal is energy autonomy.

Yet, tragically, by sticking to conventional energies, the Visegrad bloc is putting energy independence ever further out of reach. In the Czech Republic, fossil fuels account for about 80 percent of the primary energy supply, almost all of which is imported, and the lion’s share bought from Russia. Hungary and Slovakia are also prominent customers of Gazprom, a Russian gas company. Poland, the most energy autonomous of the group, relies heavily on its own coal reserves and Soviet-era coal-firing plants, the dirtiest in the EU. In fact, Poland is the biggest coal producer in Europe and the ninth largest worldwide. Even so, Russia supplies 90 percent and 65 percent of its oil and gas, respectively.

The Visegrad countries’ response to this quandary may sound logical— “diversity of supply.” The more kind of energy sources a nation uses, the less dependent it is on any one particular source. For Central Europeans, this potpourri includes conventional fossil fuels, nuclear power, and unconventional natural gas like shale gas, waste-to-energy incineration, and renewables....

ETA: Just noticed that DU's software broke the link at the apostrophe. You can post the original in your browser or use this one.



Broken: http://www.worldpolicy.org/blog/2013/11/22/central-europe’s-bad-bet

Who should get San Onofre nuclear plant's refund?

Calif. utility to challenge proposed nuke refund
The Associated Press
POSTED: 11/20/2013 08:20:06 PM PST

LOS ANGELES—Southern California Edison will challenge a recommendation that it refund $74 million to customers who were charged operating costs for the now-closed San Onofre nuclear power plant.

Administrative law judges for the California Public Utilities Commission recommended the refund on Tuesday, saying Edison improperly kept spending money on the plant last year. They recommended a $19 million refund from the plant's co-owner, San Diego Gas & Electric.

The PUC will consider the refunds next month.

An Edison statement Wednesday says the utility will submit comments challenging the criticism...


Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions

Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions
Chevron, Exxon and BP among companies most responsible for climate change since dawn of industrial age, figures show

• Interactive - which fossil fuel companies are most responsible?

Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent

theguardian.com, Wednesday 20 November 2013 11.07 EST

Oil, coal and gas companies are contributing to most carbon emissions, causing climate change and some are also funding denial campaigns. Photograph: David Gray/Reuters
The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests.

The companies range from investor-owned firms – household names such as Chevron, Exxon and BP – to state-owned and government-run firms.

The analysis, which was welcomed by the former vice-president Al Gore as a "crucial step forward" found that the vast majority of the firms were in the business of producing oil, gas or coal, found the analysis, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Climatic Change.

"There are thousands of oil, gas and coal producers in the world," climate researcher and author Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute in Colorado said. "But the decision makers, the CEOs, or the ministers of coal and oil if you narrow it down to just one person, they could all fit on a Greyhound bus or two."

Half of the estimated emissions were produced just in the past 25 years ...


TEPCO Prez to UK - Fukushima "a warning to the world"

Fukushima nuclear disaster is warning to the world, says power company boss
Exclusive: UK government must learn from Japan's catastrophe as it plans a new generation of plant, nuclear chief claims

Simon Tisdall in Tokyo
The Guardian, Tuesday 19 November 2013 13.10 EST

The catastrophic triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March 2011 was "a warning to the world" about the hazards of nuclear power and contained lessons for the British government as it plans a new generation of nuclear power stations, the man with overall responsibility for the operation in Japan has told the Guardian.

Speaking at his Tokyo corporate headquarters , Naomi Hirose, president of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), which runs the stricken Fukushima plant, said Britain's nuclear managers "should be prepared for the worst" in order to avoid repeating Japan's traumatic experience. "We tried to persuade people that nuclear power is 100% safe. That was easy for both sides. Our side explains how safe nuclear power is. The other side is the people who listen and for them it is easy to hear OK, it's safe, sure, why not?

"But we have to explain, no matter how small a possibility, what if this [safety] barrier is broken? We have to prepare a plan if something happens … It is easy to say this is almost perfect so we don't have to worry about it. But we have to keep thinking: what if …"

British ministers recently agreed a commercial deal with the French state-owned energy company EDF Energy to build the UK's first new nuclear reactor in a generation at Hinkley Point in Somerset. The agreement included the UK government providing accident insurance.

Tepco's Fukushima Daiichi facility on the coast about 124 miles (200km) north-east of Tokyo, comprising...


Will Solar Save the Planet?

Will Solar Save the Planet?
As the IPCC sounds another alarm about climate change, solar energy supporters believe they have a solution.

Mark Hertsgaard October 2, 2013 (In Oct 21 edition of The Nation)

”We’re actually winning the fight against climate change, but most people don’t know it yet.”

That may seem a strange statement to make in a week when a landmark scientific report declares that humanity must quit fossil fuels within thirty years or risk catastrophic climate change. But Danny Kennedy, a former top Greenpeace activist who helps run the global solar company Sungevity, says that solar and wind power are growing so fast worldwide that they will displace fossil fuels much sooner than usually thought. He has lots of supporting data, much of which comes from the crazy tree-huggers at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Deutsche Bank and the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Meanwhile, it’s renewables to the rescue. Kennedy argues that wind and especially solar are growing exponentially as millions around the world leave fossil fuels behind. In Germany, which has pledged to forsake fossil fuels and nuclear, “there are now thirty gigawatts of solar on rooftops—that’s the equivalent of thirty nuclear power plants,” he says. In China, renewables will make up more than half the power capacity added through 2030, when renewables’ capacity will equal coal’s, projects Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The solar growth rates in Kennedy’s homeland, Australia, are even steeper, rising from a mere 900 households in 2006 to 1 million today. “There is nothing else like these rates of adopting a new technology,” he says. “They’re faster than the adoption rates for cellphones.”

Solar is expanding even faster than wind power, thanks to plummeting costs and financing programs that enable people to put solar panels on their roofs with no money down yet lower monthly bills. “Solar is growing so fast it is going to overtake everything,” said Jon Wellinghoff, chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, in August. “It is going to be the dominant player. Everybody’s roof is out there.”


Much more at:

Fukushima job feared too perilous for Tepco

Fukushima job feared too perilous for Tepco
KYODO NOV 19, 2013

Tokyo Electric Power Co. has finally moved into the decommissioning process at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, despite doubt over its ability to manage a highly dangerous effort that will take decades.

The start Monday of removing fuel from the cooling pool high up in the damaged reactor 4 building was one of the few bright pieces of news to come out recently from the plant, which has been plagued with frequent radioactive water leaks and other troubles over the past year.

But the work poses another challenge to the utility, with its success or failure expected to affect the following process of retrieving the fuel from the pools for reactors 1, 2 and 3, as well as the melted fuel inside the damaged cores.

“Spent fuel has potentially a very large risk. . . . I am personally more worried about (handling) it than the radioactive water problem,” Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said in late October.

Tepco President Naomi Hirose has ...

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