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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
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Earth Day goal: Democratize energy

This is the most hopeful sign I've seen this Earth Day because it's from a former Republican Party officer in Louisiana. IF he gets it, then maybe there are enough others to swing the balance in favor of doing what needs to be done.

Earth Day goal: Democratize energy
5:15 AM, Apr. 22, 2012
Written by Michael Stafford

Today marks the 42nd anniversary of the first observance of Earth Day, and there is much to celebrate.

However, there are dark clouds on the horizon. The Tea Party has essentially declared war on the environment. Sadly, renewable energy is a favorite, and a frequent, target.


The opposition to renewable energy programs is particularly unfortunate. Globally, the United States already lags behind other nations, such as Germany, in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources.


Renewable energy's potential to localize and democratize energy production can be seen in Germany. An astonishing 51 percent of Germany's renewable energy is generated by private citizens and farms. Moreover, many of Germany's larger-scale renewable projects are locally owned and operated.

Leading voices in the United Kingdom have also recognized the revolutionary potential of locally owned renewable energy. For example, ResPublica, an influential British think-tank, has called for, in the words of Senior Researcher Caroline Julian, "a truly transformative capitalism [that] will place markets back into the hands of the people" by focusing on local energy production rather than simply "greater market efficiency and increased competition amongst the larger energy suppliers""...


Nuclear: a toxic investment

Nuclear: a toxic investment
With RWE, E.ON and now GDF Suez getting cold feet about UK projects, has the nuclear renaissance turned radioactive?

Terry Macalister guardian.co.uk, Monday 16 April 2012 15.31 EDT

And then there was one. Well, we are not there yet, but there is no doubt the comments from the GDF Suez boss that his NuGen consortium wants more financial concessions to build atomic plants in Britain is not a casual warning but a threat that it could pull out, leaving EDF the only company willing to build new reactors.

The great atomic renaissance is certainly unraveling. Critics always said it did not make financial sense, and indeed it seems it is basic economics that is undermining the project rather than environmental worries.

When the German-based utilities RWE and E.ON said last month that they were scrapping their involvement in new atomic plants at Wylfa in Wales and Oldbury in Gloucestershire, things looked rocky for the government. GDF – formerly Gaz de France – said at the time it was proceeding as usual with its plans to build a facility close to the Sellafield site in Cumbria.

But on Monday Gérard Mestrallet, the chief executive of GDF, made clear that the current regime outlined by the government would not justify its plans for a new facility at Sellafield in Cumbria.


Big Oil on Edge as U.S. Requires Disclosure

Big Oil on Edge as U.S. Requires Disclosure
China's Big Three and other U.S.-listed oil giants may have to share financial data from global projects with stock investors

By special correspondent Zhang Tao in Washington and staff reporter Wang Xiaocong 04.19.2012 16:41

(Washington D.C.)–An intense lobbying campaign is under way as U.S. authorities prepare to implement what are supposed to be investor-friendly laws designed to clarify the global operations of listed oil companies.

Officials at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission have been a campaign focus while they work out details of Section 1504, a part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act signed into law in 2010 in an attempt to prevent future global financial crises.

Oil companies, critics of the companies' secretive behavior and other special interest groups have been pressuring the SEC over the law's application. Energy giants such as ExxonMobil are lobbying against financial disclosure rules for fear they would lose competitive advantages, while non-governmental organizations such as Global Witness and billionaire investor George Soros say they want as much transparency as possible.

Because the measure covers all oil companies listed on U.S. stock markets, the rules would apply equally to American and foreign companies, including China's state-owned, Big Three oil concerns – China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec), and China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC).

American subsidiaries of each of the Big Three ...


Why Gas in China Is More Expensive Than in the U.S.
Drivers in China are feeling the pinch when they fill up their tanks, prompting some to wonder why fuel is sometimes cheaper abroad

(Beijing) – Chen Weidong works at China National Offshore Oil Corporation. When he bought a compact car in 2004, it cost 180 yuan to fill up. Now he pays 400 yuan.

Many of Beijing's 5 million car owners are feeling similar pain at the pump. On March 20, 2012, after the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) once again raised the price of refined oil, retail prices rose to records for China. On April 10 in Beijing, 93 octane gas was 8.33 yuan per liter, 97 octane was 8.87 yuan and diesel was 8.31 yuan.

In May 2009 the NDRC enacted a new mechanism to regulate oil prices. This linked China's prices to those for three varieties, namely Brent (United Kingdom), Cinta (Indonesia) and Dubai (United Arab Emirates). When the average price changes for these three exceeds 4 percent in 22 straight days, China will raise or lower the domestic oil prices accordingly.

Since international oil prices have been rising since 2000 and more than half of Chinese oil consumption depends on imports, it is natural China is paying more. But does it make sense that China's oil prices are higher than those in the U.S.?


Chem365.net analyst Wang Jintao said that on March 22, 2012, when the retail price of 93 octane in Beijing was 8.33 yuan per liter, a liter of similar gas cost the equivalent of 6.82 yuan in New York, 12.06 yuan in Tokyo and 14.39 yuan in London....


Only *NOW* do the Japanese people learn that they didn't need nuclear for CO2 reductions.

Cutting CO₂ without reactors

An Environment Ministry draft report states that Japan can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent without relying on nuclear power. This news is most welcome after the dangers of nuclear power were starkly exposed by the Fukushima nuclear fiasco.

The report suggests that even with all reactors offline, cuts could reach 33 percent, depending on efforts to conserve energy and to adopt renewable energy sources. Even more conservative estimates from a similar trade and industry ministry report found that reductions of 16 percent are possible with all reactors offline.

Both reports suggest that Japan will be able to keep its pledge of reducing gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020, highlighting a long-standing truth that reductions in the most harmful heat-trapping gas emissions can be achieved without nuclear power despite claims to the contrary by advocates of nuclear energy. The government should translate this truth into a policy of nonnuclear energy production.

Questions still abound, however. Why were such reports not published before the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant disaster? What has changed since then? The answer is public sentiment. Clearly, the authors of the report were encouraged by the moderate success of last summer's energy-saving campaign. Reductions in energy consumption made nuclear power much less necessary. More importantly, the reports are a response to the increased opposition of Japanese people to nuclear power.

Without admitting it directly, these reports show that the claims of nuclear power as the best or only way to cut emissions were never valid. Portrayals of nuclear energy as good for the environment can no longer be taken seriously....


Nuclear industry and its pols caught in another backhanded deal

To form the majority needed for the present UK government the conservatives had to ally themselves with the LibDems. Part of the deal was that since the LibDems believed that spending money on nuclear power was an impediment to the fight against climate change, and since the Conservatives were dead set on building new nuclear power, there was a compromise needed in this area. The LibDems agreed to not impede the building of nuclear plants if and only if they could be built with no subsidies. Of course, since new reactors simply cannot be built without transferring the risk to the tax/rate payers (which is a form of subsidies) the conservatives have been trying since day one to wriggle and squirm out of the deal.
Background from 2010: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jun/16/coalition-support-new-nuclear-power

Here is the latest chapter in that saga...

Ministers planning 'hidden subsidies' for nuclear power


The Guardian has also seen a presentation made by Scottish & Southern Energy to MPs last month, saying the plans contain "hidden subsidies", will be open to challenge on legal grounds, and could "mess up" funding for renewables. Hall commented: "I have not seen the SSE presentation but even the nuclear industry accepts this is a covert subsidy."


The leaked document, a submission to the European commission, which the government has confirmed as genuine, says: "Our reforms will put in place a regulatory framework based on feed-in tariffs for all low-carbon technologies, which will allow younger technologies to mature so that in the near- to mid-term future they will be able to compete in the open market … in time, we expect that this regulatory framework will enable different low-carbon technologies to compete against each other on a level playing field for their appropriate role in the energy mix."

This is the clearest evidence yet of government plans to subsidise nuclear power through the back door, by classifying it with renewables as "low-carbon power", despite repeated assurances that there would be no public subsidy. In the coalition agreement subsidies to nuclear are explicitly ruled out. It said: "Liberal Democrats have long opposed any new nuclear construction. Conservatives, by contrast, are committed to allowing the replacement of existing nuclear power stations provided that they are subject to the normal planning process for major projects (under a new National Planning Statement), and also provided that they receive no public subsidy."

The government is already facing a crisis over its hopes for a fleet of new reactors to replace ageing generators. This week French company GDF Suez warned it would need increased financial incentives, including a strengthened price on carbon dioxide, to go ahead with its building plans. This followed the shock cancellation by German companies E.ON and RWE npower, partners in the Horizon consortium, of their plans to build new plants at Wylfa, Wales and Oldbury, Gloucestershire.



Post-Fukushima nuclear allergy spreads in France

...The nuclear issue is playing a significant role in the election campaign that will determine a new president on May 6. According to public opinion polls, Sarkozy has only a slim chance of being re-elected, and if he fails, the industry will miss its most prominent salesman.

What is the record in nuclear dreamland France, which has served as a blueprint for Japan's adventures in splitting the atom? While nuclear plants provide three-quarters of the country's electricity, this equates to only 17 percent of the final energy compared to close to half still being provided by oil.

Energy independence? Due to highly inefficient uses, per capita oil consumption in France is as high or higher than in Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom or even the European Union on average. In 2011, the foreign trade deficit reached a historic record of ?70 billion — most of it due to oil and gas imports — while Germany registered a ?158 billion surplus.

When freezing weather hit Europe in early February, France's neighbors made available up to 13,000 MW net to save the French grid from collapsing. Of this, 3,000 MW came from Germany, which had shut down half of its nuclear fleet just days after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

This is the result of irrational policy incentives that have pushed electric space heating into one-third of existing and three- quarters of new homes. As a result, every degree Celsius drop in temperature increases capacity needs by 2,300 MW. Furthermore, energy poverty now affects about 4 million French households, of which 1.1 million had access to social tariffs in 2010, a 120 percent increase since 2007.


Mycle Schneider is an independent international consultant on energy and nuclear policy. He has advised the Belgian, French and German governments and has lectured extensively at parliaments and universities around the world, including at Japan's Diet and Kyoto's Ritsumeikan University.

"This is the result of irrational policy incentives that have pushed electric space heating into one-third of existing and three- quarters of new homes. As a result, every degree Celsius drop in temperature increases capacity needs by 2,300 MW. Furthermore, energy poverty now affects about 4 million French households, of which 1.1 million had access to social tariffs in 2010, a 120 percent increase since 2007."

Mayday for Japan's nuclear industry

Mayday for Japan's nuclear industry
by: Rick Wallace, Tokyo Correspondent
From: The Australian
April 21, 2012 12:00AM

...This week, Industry Minister Yukio Edano admitted the government had lost its battle to find a municipality willing to restart reactors in time for the scheduled shutdown of the last plant to remain online, at Tomari in the northern island of Hokkaido.

Since the 1970s, nuclear energy has underpinned heavily industrialised Japan's power-generation system. Before last year's tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster, it accounted for almost 30 per cent of the nation's energy needs.

But after the March 11 catastrophe 11 the country's 54 reactors were closed on government advice amid safety fears in the event of new quakes or tsunamis. Gradually, over the course of more than a year, the rest of the nation's reactors, all of which are on the coast, have been mothballed as their inspection intervals have fallen due.

Despite increasing pressure from industry and the cabinet, local authorities have been resisting pleas to allow the restart of reactors amid a nationwide backlash against nuclear energy....

Japan firms want 'safety first' on nuclear restarts: poll
April 19, 2012|Izumi Nakagawa and Tetsushi Kajimoto

TOKYO (Reuters) - Nearly three-quarters of Japanese firms want safety guaranteed before idled nuclear reactors in the country are restarted, seeing no need to rush the process despite the impact the loss of the power source could have on their businesses.

Japan is set to have no nuclear power within weeks for the first time in over 40 years following last year's crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which crushed public trust in nuclear power and prevented the restart of reactors shut for regular maintenance checks.

The poll, taken alongside the monthly Reuters Tankan company sentiment survey, showed only 15 percent of firms want an early restart for idled reactors, while 72 percent said safety should be the key priority.

Sixty-five percent of firms think the loss of all nuclear power would hurt their businesses...


Global Wind Power Capacity To Reach Nearly 500 GW By 2016

Global Wind Power Capacity To Reach Nearly 500 GW By 2016
by NAW Staff on Wednesday 18 April 2012

The global wind energy industry will install more than 46 GW of new wind power capacity this year, according to a new report by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). By the end of 2016, total global wind power capacity will be just under 500 GW, with an annual market in that year of about 60 GW.

Overall, GWEC forecasts average annual market growth rates of about 8% for the next five years, with a strong 2012 and a substantial dip in 2013. Total installations for the 2012-2016 period are expected to reach 255 GW, with cumulative market growth averaging just under 16%.

"For the next five years, annual market growth will be driven primarily by India and Brazil, with significant contributions from new markets in Latin America, Africa and Asia," says Steve Sawyer, GWEC’s secretary general. “While the market continues to diversify across all continents, it is, at the same time, plagued by continued slow economic growth and budget crises in the OECD, as well as the continuing credit crunch.”

For the second consecutive year, the majority of new installations were outside the OECD - a trend that will continue, GWEC says. Asia will continue to be the world’s largest market, with far more new installations than any other region. In fact, Asia will install 118 GW between now and 2016, surpassing Europe as the world leader in cumulative installed capacity sometime during 2013, ending the period with about 200 GW in total, the report predicts.


Sure it is.

It is when you were posting as Dr.Gregory before that alias was served a pizza.

Have you heard the bull**** claim that "renewables are great but they aren't enough"?

See also:

Are TX &SC nuke projects going the way of Calvert Cliffs?

Three answers // 5 reactors started 1 completed // largest municipal bond default in history

TVA has lost $50 Million Cutting Brown's Ferry Output - Tennessee River Too Hot To Cool Plant
Dr gregory on albedo

Fukushima: Probability theory is unsafe

Fukushima: Probability theory is unsafe
Special to The Japan Times

A year has now passed since the complete core meltdowns of three boiling water reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 plant. Because of the limited and biased information issued by the Japanese government, the world does not know what really happened when the earthquake and the tsunami hit the six Fukushima nuclear reactors. There are many important lessons that must be learned to avoid a future disaster. These lessons can be applied to all the nuclear reactors globally. People around the world deserve the right to know what happened.

As a nuclear core designer and someone who earned a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in nuclear engineering, I volunteered to look into the situation at Fukushima No. 1 in June of 2011. Mr. Goushi Hosono, minister of nuclear power and environment, personally gave me access to the information and personnel who were directly involved in the containment operations of the postdisaster nuclear plants. After three months of investigation, I analyzed and wrote a long report detailing minute by minute how the nuclear reactors were actually disabled (pr.bbt757.com/eng/)

Here are the highlights of my findings:...


Kenichi Ohmae — an MIT-trained nuclear engineer who is also a well-known management consultant — is dean of Business Breakthrough University. He was a founder of McKinsey & Co.'s strategic consulting practice and is the author of many books including "The Borderless World."

This article suffers too much loss to be effectively summarized. It is a bit long, but very readable and informative.

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