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kristopher

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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
Number of posts: 29,798

Journal Archives

Articles on New Energy Secretary

Amy Goodman (Democracy Now) March 26, 2013
Energy Nominee Ernest Moniz Criticized for Backing Fracking & Nuclear Power; Ties to BP, GE, Saudis
http://www.democracynow.org/2013/3/26/energy_nominee_ernest_moniz_criticized_for


New Era for Energy Department Expected Under a Secretary Moniz
By Coral Davenport April 8, 2013 | 10:36 p.m.

<snip, snip>

“I think it will be a very different agency than it was in the first term,” said Charles Ebinger, director of the Energy Security Initiative at the Brookings Institution, who has worked with Moniz on energy policy for many years.

“Ernie knows climate change, but also unconventional oil and gas and coal and nuclear. He will push the president towards a more balanced policy. I think you’ll see a focus on unconventional oil and gas and not as much on renewables.”

Frank Verrastro, director of the energy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said, “He’ll be a more complete secretary of Energy. He brings different skills. He’s focused on climate and clean energy, but he’s aware of what’s going on in the oil and gas space. It’s an opportunity for the administration to gain back some energy-policy stake.”

The nation’s energy picture has changed profoundly since 2008, when Obama appointed Chu to lead the DOE. Since then, a boom in unconventional oil and gas development, thanks to breakthroughs in hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” technology has led to a dramatic increase in domestic oil and gas supply. Obama has been particularly bullish on natural gas as a one-two punch for his climate-change and economic goals: The fuel has half the carbon emissions of coal, and the new glut of it has lowered U.S. manufacturing costs.

The fossil-fuel industry, which regularly railed against Chu, has already indicated its openness to Moniz...

http://www.nationaljournal.com/daily/new-era-for-energy-department-expected-under-a-secretary-moniz-20130408


Publications produced by his group the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI)
http://mitei.mit.edu/publications

DONG Energy, Siemens Sign Deals For Almost 1 GW Of Offshore Wind Turbines

DONG Energy, Siemens Sign Deals For Almost 1 GW Of Offshore Wind Turbines
Thursday 11 April 2013

DONG Energy and Siemens AG have entered into agreements securing potential
supplies and servicing of a total of 154 offshore wind turbines of 6 MW each, giving a total capacity of 924 MW. The turbines are based on gearless direct-drive technology and have a 154-meter rotor.

The agreements give DONG Energy the option to install the turbines on its Gode Wind projects in Germany from 2015. Utilization of the potential supplies and services under the agreements is subject to official approvals for the specific projects and DONG Energy making a positive investment decision for the projects.

Following the acquisition of the ownership interest in the Gode Wind projects in August 2012, DONG Energy invited tenderers for the supply of offshore turbines, and Siemens AG responded and won the agreements.

“By 2020, we want to have installed 6,500 MW of offshore wind power compared to the 1,700 MW we have already built,” says Samuel Leupold, executive vice president of DONG Energy Wind Power. “The agreements with Siemens AG are an important step toward meeting that target. I am therefore pleased we have completed the tender and concluded agreements for the turbines.”


http://www.nawindpower.com/e107_plugins/content/content.php?content.11359#.UWiFoXAyHdk

“The accident has not been brought under control” ... “a man-made disaster”

Criticism, doubts greet new Diet panel on nuclear issues
April 09, 2013

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

The Lower House established a committee to monitor nuclear power administration, but the overtly pro-nuclear panel was immediately criticized as long overdue and doubts were raised about whether it would provide effective oversight.

The Special Committee for Investigation of Nuclear Power Issues was created under the Abe administration following a recommendation from the Diet’s investigation commission on the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

“The accident has not been brought under control,” Kiyoshi Kurokawa, who chaired the now disbanded Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission, told the inaugural session of the committee on April 8.

<snip>

In its 641-page final report released in July, the Diet investigation commission defined the nuclear accident as “a man-made disaster,” and called the responsibilities of the government and plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. into question...


http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201304090066

New NRA rules impose costly roadblocks to restart idle reactors

New NRA rules impose costly roadblocks to restart idle reactors

For the next several years at least, Japan will probably have very limited ability to generate electricity through nuclear power.

This is because the vast majority of the nation's idle nuclear reactors are unlikely to resume operations anytime soon due to proposed new regulation standards that set high and costly hurdles.

On April 10, the Nuclear Regulation Authority released its proposal for new regulation standards that are expected to go into effect in July.

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201304110062


Good article that goes on to show only 3 reactors are eligible to restart in the near term. The two that are currently operating will be shutting down for extensive inspections.

(Florida) Senate panel advances bill to put brakes on nuclear fees

Senate panel advances bill to put brakes on nuclear fees
Mary Ellen Klas, Times/Herald

TALLAHASSEE — For the first time in seven years, a Senate committee has stood up to the state's utility companies and unanimously passed a bill that would weaken a law that has allowed the companies to charge customers for nuclear projects before the projects are built.

The Senate Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee voted unanimously Monday for SB 1472, which would impose strict new requirements on utility companies by demanding that they obtain a license to build a power plant before they can continue to charge customers.

The bill is opposed by the state's largest utility companies, which for years have persuaded legislators not to change the 2006 law known as the Nuclear Cost Recovery Clause, even though costs of the plants have quadrupled and their construction plans were postponed.

http://ht.ly/jWhva

Bringing Solar Light to the Energy Poor

Bringing Solar Light to the Energy Poor

More than 1.3 billion people around the world live without electricity. Another 1 billion endure prolonged periods without power, up to 18 hours per day. Most of them are in the developing world in countries such as Nepal.

...

The first idea is this: a solution to the problem of kerosene. That solution is solar LED lighting—small, portable, bright, renewable, and inexpensive (the payback is less than one year and it’s cheaper than kerosene per unit of energy).

The second idea is this: a pathway to make the solution a reality; namely, distribution for the solar lights. EG’s name hints at that pathway … empower. Specifically, EG is empowering entrepreneurial women to take the lead. In the developing world, women tend to be responsible for finding energy for the household—they collect firewood and buy kerosene, cook over the dangerous fuel, and light the house.

This marriage of two ideas—clean energy and women’s empowerment—is a reflection of Cohen and Cherneff as a couple. He worked at RMI from 2008–2010 as the Assistant to the Chief Scientist and is now at Shell’s Corporate Venture group working on alternative energy investments. She earned a master’s in international human rights. They founded Empower Generation in 2011 and got married in 2012.

Now they’re bringing clean energy to the people who need it, not through charity, but via small businesses run by women...


http://blog.rmi.org/blog_2013_04_08_bringing_solar_light_to_the_energy_poor

Alert to Congress: Nuclear evacuation may bog down

Alert to Congress: Nuclear evacuation may bog down
By JEFF DONN, AP National Writer – 1 day ago

Regulators and congressional investigators clashed Wednesday over a new report warning that in the event of an accident at a nuclear plant, panicking residents from outside the official evacuation zone might jam the roads and prevent others from escaping.

The report by the Government Accountability Office, which acts as the investigative arm of Congress, challenges a three-decade-old fundamental of emergency planning around American nuclear power plants: that preparations for evacuation should focus on people who live within 10 miles of the site.

The GAO found that people living beyond the official 10-mile evacuation zone might be so frightened by the prospect of spreading radiation that they would flee of their own accord, clog roads, and delay the escape of others. The investigators said regulators have never properly studied how many people beyond 10 miles would make their own decisions to take flight, prompting what is called a "shadow evacuation."

As a result, the GAO report says, "evacuation time estimates may not accurately consider the impact of shadow evacuations."

...


http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jlosskgnu-Mxq-B1CYqFkeirFaQw?docId=64b40cf916cd4478ae934708fee62deb

Credit agencies eyeing (nuclear) Plant Vogtle cost overruns

Credit agencies eyeing Plant Vogtle cost overruns
Sponsored Links

By RAY HENRY
The Associated Press
ATLANTA — As the cost of building a new nuclear plant in Georgia rises, credit rating agencies are taking critical notice.

Four power utilities — Georgia Power, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, Oglethorpe Power and the City of Dalton — are building a first-of-its-kind nuclear plant about 30 miles southeast of Augusta. That project was originally expected to cost roughly $14 billion, but it has fallen behind schedule by more than a year and is expected to exceed its budget.

The effort is managed by Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power, a large utility with a 46 percent stake in the new plant. In late February, Georgia Power told state regulators that its costs were expected to grow by roughly $737 million to about $6.85 billion. Other utilities have reported similar increases in spending roughly equivalent to their share in the project.

Few analysts are worried about the financial implications for Georgia Power, which has a big balance sheet. So far, elected utility regulators that oversee the monopoly have allowed it to pass along its costs to nearly 2.4 million customers...


http://www.wsbtv.com/ap/ap/energy/credit-agencies-eyeing-plant-vogtle-cost-overruns/nXHpW/

Can the Utility Industry Survive the Energy Transition?

Probably not. At least, not as we presently think of utilities. - k

Can the Utility Industry Survive the Energy Transition?

A new policy paper from the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), an association of shareholder-owned U.S. electric companies, details the "disruptive challenges" the sector faces. These private, for-profit companies, also known as investor-owned utilities or IOUs, serve about 70 percent of the U.S. population. They are usually subject to different regulations than publicly owned utilities or co-ops, and must turn enough profit to retain their investors in a difficult, constrained, low-margin business.

...

The cost of power generation from solar PV, wind, geothermal, micro-hydro, and fuel cells running on natural gas has been dropping dramatically. Residential and commercial utility customers can now generate some or all of their own power economically instead of drawing it from the grid. The cost of such distributed generation is set to continue falling as more of it is deployed around the world, and "could directly threaten the centralized utility model," the report acknowledges.

Distributed generation costs are falling too rapidly for lumbering utilities to adapt to these new business realities. In Germany, which has deployed renewable power aggressively for the past decade, solar power has nearly reached grid parity and may now be "unstoppable" even without subsidies, according to Macquarie Group, a global investment bank. Germany's coal-fired and nuclear power generators are now struggling to remain profitable as their share of the market shrinks as higher-priced peak hours of the day are increasingly met by solar.

Worse, being able to generate your own power means that you might eventually decide you don't need the grid at all. The EEI raises concerns that "the longer-term threat of fully exiting from the grid (or customers solely using the electric grid for backup purposes) raises the potential for irreparable damages to revenues and growth prospects," observing that it may become difficult to recover investment costs over a 30-year period, as it has done in the past.

Increasing use of demand-side management...


http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/can-the-utility-industry-survive-the-energy-transition?utm_source=Daily&utm_medium=Headline&utm_campaign=GTMDaily

Renewables Made Up 82% Of New U.S. Generating Capacity In First Quarter

Renewables Made Up 82% Of New U.S. Generating Capacity In First Quarter
Tuesday 09 April 2013

Renewable energy sources, including wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and hydro, accounted for 82% of all new domestic electrical generating capacity installed in the first quarter of this year for a total of 1,546 MW, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's latest Energy Infrastructure Update report.

The balance of new generating capacity, comprising 340 MW, came from natural gas. Coal, nuclear power and oil have provided no new generating capacity thus far this year.

Wind led the way for the first quarter, with six new "units" totaling 958 MW, followed by solar with 38 units totaling 537 MW. Biomass added 28 new units totaling 46 MW, while hydro had four new units with an installed capacity of 5.4 MW. No new capacity was reported for geothermal steam.

For the month of March alone, however, 100% of the new electrical generation in service came from solar (seven new units with a combined capacity of 44 MW). The installed capacity of new solar units during the first quarter (537 MW) is more than double that installed during the same period in 2012 (264 MW).

Renewable sources now account for nearly 16% of total installed U.S. operating generating capacity: hydro (8.53%), wind (5.18%), biomass (1.30%), solar (0.44%) and geothermal (0.32%). This is more than nuclear (9.15%) and oil (3.54%) combined.

“Month after month, renewable energy sources continue to dominate the new electrical generating capacity being brought online in the United States...


http://www.nawindpower.com/e107_plugins/content/content.php?content.11348#.UWYsf3AyHdk

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