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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
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Wind Forecasting with Super-Duper Computer

Wind Forecasting with Super-Duper Computer

David Appleyard, Chief Editor, Renewable Energy World
August 01, 2013

LONDON -- New software has been developed which has been designed to improve current studies for estimating onshore and offshore wind production, and which may be applied throughout the whole operational life of such facilities, its developers say.

Iberdrola and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center – Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS), with the collaboration of the National Centre for Renewable Energies (CENER), aim to create an innovative information technology model with the research & development project.

Both the development of the project and its subsequent application will take place in the facilities of BSC, using software run by MareNostrum, one of the top 30 fastest supercomputers in the world.

MareNostrum has 48,896 Intel processors and a calculation capacity of 94.21 Teraflops - a measure of computing speed equal to one trillion floating-point operations per second.

By more accurately forecasting ...


Gamble on carbon and the climate could trigger a new financial crisis

This gamble on carbon and the climate could trigger a new financial crisis
There is little evidence that institutional investors have recognised that they are sitting on a carbon-asset timebomb

Kevin Watkins
theguardian.com, Friday 2 August 2013 12.35 EDT

If you want to see market irrationality in action, look no further than current stock market valuations for the world's major oil, gas and coal companies.

At a time when governments are supposedly preparing for a global climate change deal that will cut carbon emissions, energy multinationals are investing in carbon assets like there's no tomorrow.

Put bluntly, either we're heading for a climate catastrophe, or the carbon asset bubble will go the way of sub-prime mortgage stock.

Yesterday's disappointing second-quarter results for Royal Dutch Shell provided a useful guide to the future. Over the past couple of years the company has invested heavily in exploration. It has pumped billions of pounds into fracking for natural gas in Ukraine and Turkey; the development of tar sands in Canada, and drilling in the Arctic. The market verdict, prompted by a dip in prices, reduced profits, and concern over costs: a drop in share prices.

You can't help wondering what will happen when carbon prices are aligned with climate imperatives. ...


Yet another thread in the fabric of resistance to dealing with carbon.

Japanese utility, and the public, in dark about crippled nuclear plant

TOKYO, July 31 (Reuters) - Two and a half years after the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, the operator of Japan's wrecked Fukushima plant faces a daunting array of unknowns.

Why the plant intermittently emits steam; how groundwater seeps into its basement; whether fixes to the cooling system will hold; how nearby groundwater is contaminated by radioactive matter; how toxic water ends up in the sea and how to contain water that could overwhelm the facility's storage tanks.

What is clear, say critics, is that Tokyo Electric Power Co is keeping a nervous Japanese public in the dark about what it does know.

The inability of the utility, known as Tepco, to get to grips with the situation raises questions over whether it can successfully decommission the Fukushima Daiichi plant, say industry experts and analysts.

"They let people know about the good things and hide the bad things. This culture of cover up hasn't changed since the disaster," said Atsushi Kasai, a former researcher at the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute...


Debunking the Renewables “Disinformation Campaign”

Debunking the Renewables “Disinformation Campaign”

According to Fox Business reporter Shibani Joshi, renewables are successful in Germany and not in the U.S. because Germany has “got a lot more sun than we do.” Sure, California might get sun now and then, Joshi conceded during her now-infamous flub, "but here on the East Coast, it's just not going to work." (She recanted the next day while adding new errors.)

Actually, Germany gets only about as much annual sun as Seattle or Alaska; its sunniest region gets less sun than almost anywhere in the lower 48 states. This underscores an important point: solar power works and competes not only in the sunniest places, but in some pretty cloudy places, too.

The Fox Business example is not a singular incident. Some mainstream media around the world have a tendency to publish misinformed or, worse, systematically and falsely negative stories about renewable energy. Some of those stories’ misinformation looks innocent, due to careless reporting, sloppy fact checking, and perpetuation of old myths. But other coverage walks, or crosses, the dangerous line of a disinformation campaign—a persistent pattern of coverage meant to undermine renewables’ strong market reality. This has become common enough in mainstream media that some researchers have focused their attention on this balance of accurate and positive coverage vs. inaccurate and negative coverage.

Tim Holmes, researcher for the U.K.’s Public Interest Research Centre (PIRC), points out press coverage is important because it can influence not only “what people perceive and believe” but also “what politicians think they believe.” PIRC’s 2011 study of renewable energy media coverage surveyed how four of the highest-circulation British daily newspapers reported on renewables during July 2009. A newspaper’s balance of positive and negative renewables coverage tended to align with its editorial ideology. The difference was astounding. In one instance, negative coverage of renewables was just 2.5 percent; in another, upwards of 75 percent.

A follow-up 2012 study by public relations consultancy CCGroup examined five of the most-read newspapers in the U.K. during July 2012. Researchers found more than 51 percent of the articles featuring renewables were negative, 21 percent positive...


Sad to say that this progressive forum is a prolific outlet for this same disinformation.

Duke Energy Absconds With the Public's $3B for Nuke Plants

Sorry, no energy for your money.

Duke Energy to cancel proposed Levy County nuclear plant, Fasano says
Ivan Penn, Times Staff Writer
Thursday, August 1, 2013 12:51pm


Duke, and its predecessor Progress Energy, have steadfastly supported the project, despite an ever ballooning price tag. When first proposed by Progress in 2006, the estimated cost was $4 billion to $6 billion with a completion date of 2016. Most recent estimates put the cost at almost $25 billion, coming online in 2024.

Under a controversial Florida law, consumers have been paying for Levy in advance of construction. Legislators promised the "advance fee'' would get nuclear projects built both faster and cheaper.


Thursday's announcement follows Duke's decision in February to mothball its existing nuclear plant in Crystal River. Progress broke that plant during a botched equipment upgrade in 2009. The advance fee forces Duke customers to pay for that upgrade as well.

The bottom line: Duke customers may end up paying roughly $3 billion for Crystal River and Levy.

The advance fee law does not require Duke to refund any of the money that has already been spent on the Levy project....


Power storage in old batteries

Power storage in old batteries

A group of Swiss and German firms have taken a look at an unusual solution in order to make power storage more affordable – they simply reuse rechargeable batteries at the end of their service lives.

German power provider Wemag of Schwerin plans to roll out a power storage system called Reevolt by the end of the year. Each unit will be able to store up to five kilowatt-hours of electricity, and the firm will be marketing the product to German homeowners with solar arrays.

The storage units contain – new or used – lithium-manganese batteries made by Panasonic for use in Swiss bike firm BikeTec’s electric bicycles. Apparently, a large number of these batteries have been recovered for recycling, according to the power provider's press release (in German). The bike maker rents a fleet of electric bicycles, and the batteries are only used for two years.

At the end of their service lives, the batteries no longer provide the range that bike renters expect, but the batteries themselves still have around 80 percent of their capacity. A company spokesperson says that the storage units come with a guaranteed minimum capacity, and consumers have the option of purchasing new batteries if they prefer. If the batteries used in the storage unit drop below the guaranteed capacity, a new round of used batteries are provided.

The goal, of course, is to make power storage less expensive...


Switzerland raises carbon tax by two thirds

Switzerland raises carbon tax by two thirds

Switzerland was one of the numerous countries that missed its Kyoto target for the end of 2012. But now, the country has decided to implement a steep carbon tax in 2014 to make up for lost ground.

Here's another greatly underreported news item from Europe: Effective January 1, 2014, the Swiss will increase their carbon tax from 36 francs to 60 francs per ton of CO2, equivalent to 0.36 and 0.61 US dollars. As the government announced at the beginning of July (press release in German), the revenue will be used for building renovations.

The Swiss had a reduction target of 8 percent below the level of 1990 at the end of 2012, a target it missed by a few percentage points. Switzerland nonetheless performed admirably in comparison to most other industrialized countries, almost all of which failed to meet their relatively unambitious targets. Indeed, only Germany, Austria and the UK had more ambitious targets of 21, 13 and 12.5 percent reductions.

In contrast, Canada withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol altogether when it realized it would not meet its targets. Switzerland's response is thus relatively admirable. As soon as the final figures for 2012 were published, the government reacted....

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