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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
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New Nuclear Power In The UK Looking Increasingly Unlikely

New Nuclear Power In The UK Looking Increasingly Unlikely
February 14, 2013

The UK government has been planning the development of a ‘next generation’ of nuclear power plants in the region for some time, but with the price of renewables falling quickly and the costs of nuclear rising, it is looking increasingly likely that the plans will have to be scrapped. There are also other important issues with new nuclear; such as the unresolved issue of nuclear waste, and its dependence on further subsidies, which will be illegal under European Union rules.

Investors have been steadily dropping out of plans. The British utility company Centrica is just the latest to pull out of the program. This week it wrote off £200 million ($315 million) while doing so, following on the heels of previously involved German utilities. In order for the program to still go forward, the government would need to break “two important electoral pledges and may face legal challenges that it intends to breach European Union subsidy rules in guaranteeing a minimum price for nuclear power,” Climate Central writes.


“Centrica’s chief executive, Sam Laidlaw, said the company had pulled out because the project was more costly and extended further into the future than had been planned four years ago. Together with its partner, the French government-owned EDF, Centrica has spent close to £1 billion ($1.5B) on the project and is now writing off its 20 percent share of £200 million ($315M), concentrating instead on renewables and natural gas for electricity generation.”

Essentially, renewable clean energy technologies are a better choice than nuclear in every way. They are cheaper, faster to build, don’t create radioactive waste, aren’t as susceptible to environmental disasters, don’t require the same level of safety measures, and have far more public support. At current rates of growth, renewables are predicted to generate more electricity in the UK than nuclear by 2018, and expected to power 1 in every 10 homes in the UK by 2015...

Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2013/02/14/new-nuclear-power-in-the-uk-looking-increasingly-unlikely/#UvYxihjvXbhkiXGM.99

Nuclear Revival Dying in Europe as Power Prices Slump

Nuclear Revival Dying in Europe as Power Prices Slump
By Ladka Bauerova on February 14, 2013

A Czech atomic-plant expansion planned near the German border had been one of the few prizes left for Europe’s nuclear-power industry after the Fukushima disaster stopped projects from Switzerland to Romania.

Russian and U.S. contractors have prepared to bid for the $10 billion contract to build two new reactors, Europe’s largest competitive tender for a nuclear project. Now a combination of cheaper European power prices and carbon credits, falling demand for electricity and concern government support may falter leaves CEZ AS’s project in doubt, analysts and investors said.

“The future of nuclear energy in Europe looks very dim indeed,” said Mycle Schneider, an independent consultant on energy and nuclear power based in Paris. “Nuclear is too capital intensive, too time-consuming and simply too risky.”


...German wholesale power prices have more than halved since 2008 as the economic crisis cut demand and wind turbines and solar panels increased supply, while a slump in EU carbon permits to a record low has removed much of nuclear’s advantage over fossil fuels. At the same time, increased technical scrutiny after Fukushima has raised the cost of new reactors.



World Solar PV Capacity Surpasses 100 Gigawatts In 2012

World Solar PV Capacity Surpasses 100 Gigawatts In 2012
February 12, 2013
Cynthia Shahan

This bright news below brings the message that people are changing, things are changing. From a statement released in Brussels yesterday we find that the world’s cumulative solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity capacity surpassed 100 gigawatts (GW) in 2012, achieving just over 101 GW. This is according to new market figures from the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA). “A landmark year,” EPIA called it. Indeed!

Wonderful to find that it’s not just speeches and pleas for change, that there is change in the works. The sun is the source of energy the world is harnessing without depletion or toxicity to a greater and greater extent. And 2012 was another strong year for the solar industry (following a very strong in in 2011). More than 30 GW of PV were connected to the electricity grid in 2012, EPIA added. And there was a sort of balancing out in where that solar power was installed. Non-European markets increased their installations and accounted for more than 13 GW of the worldwide total.

Harnessing the Power of the Sun

“This global capacity to harness the power of the sun produces as much electricity energy in a year as 16 coal power plants or nuclear reactors of 1 GW each. Each year, the world’s PV installations reduce CO2 emissions by 53 million tons,” EPIA wrote.
The surpassing of the 100-GW mark occurred in yet another year of strong global PV development, with an estimated 30 GW connected to the grid and made operational in 2012 – roughly the same as the record-setting level of 2011. These results are preliminary, and the 30 GW figure could be increased by an additional 1 or 2 GW when final numbers come in. Final results for the year will be published in May, in EPIA’s annual “Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2013-2017.”

Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1zG16)

Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2013/02/12/world-solar-pv-capacity-surpasses-100-gigawatts-in-2012/#uVvTSX1zjAtcI7yJ.99

Texas Wind Power Transmission Set To Skyrocket As Energy Exec Hints At End Of Nukes

Texas Wind Power Transmission Set To Skyrocket As Energy Exec Hints At End Of Nukes
February 10, 2013
Tina Casey

A $7 billion project that will send wind power from remote areas in West Texas to Dallas, Houston and other big cities is on the verge of completion, and that could pound yet another nail into the coffin for U.S. nuclear power and, for that matter, coal. The new Texas wind power project was authorized by the state’s Public Utility Commission (PUC) in 2008. When completed some time this year it will include 3,500 miles of new line carrying up to 18,456 megawatts, and according to a trade news report, PUC is already looking to order more wind power transmission lines, apparently with connections to out of state markets....

Texas Wind Power Up, Nukes Down
...eventually, according to Christopher Crane, the CEO of energy giant Exelon. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune last week, Crane predicted that the influx of low cost wind power would lead the company to start shuttering its nuclear plants...

In 2011, rival utility giant NRG was set to build two new power plants in Texas but backed off as a wind power surplus combined with a stiffer regulatory environment for nuclear power, consequent on the Fukushima nuclear disaster...

Texas Wind Power Up, Coal Down
Coal is on even more shaky ground, partly because new wind farms and other clean energy facilities are beginning to offer more competitive alternatives, and also because existing coal power plants are being converted to other fuels, namely biomass and natural gas.

As with nuclear power...

Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1zC1z)

Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2013/02/10/texas-wind-power-set-to-double-transmission-as-energy-exec-hints-at-end-of-nukes/#0b7jGTa4SXpgVeeJ.99

New Centralized Nuclear Plants: Still an Investment Worth Making?

...Even without Fukushima, the verdict on large centralized US nukes is probably in, for the following reasons:

1) They take too long: In the ten years it can take to build a nuclear plant, the world can change considerably (look at what has happened with natural gas prices and the costs of solar since some of these investments were first proposed). The energy world is changing very quickly, which poses a significant risk for thirty to forty year investments.

2) They are among the most expensive and capital-intensive investments in the world; they cost many billions of dollars, and they are too frequently prone to crippling multi-billion dollar cost overruns and delays. In May 2008, the US Congressional Budget Office found that the actual cost of building 75 of America’s earlier nuclear plants involved an average 207% overrun, soaring from $938 to $2,959 per kilowatt.

3) And once the investments commence, they are all-or-nothing. You can’t pull out without losing your entire investment. For those with longer memories, WPPS and Shoreham represent $2.25 bn (1983) and $6 bn (1989) wasted investments in which nothing was gained and ratepayers and bondholders lost a good deal.

Some recent investments in centralized nuclear plants in other countries highlight and echo these lessons....


See also:
Quarterbacks and New Nuclear Power Plants - Sunk Costs

Yet another delay announced for nuclear friendly Finland's new reactor

Which means, of course, even greater cost overruns.

Finland's Olkiluoto 3 reactor seen delayed to 2016

Commercial production at Finnish nuclear reactor Olkiluoto 3 is likely to be delayed to 2016, utility Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) said, sparking a new round of accusations between TVO and the builder, consortium Areva-Siemens.

The reactor was originally scheduled to start operating in 2009 but has been hit by repeated delays and soaring costs.

The French-German consortium's last estimate was for the reactor to be ready by 2014, but TVO said last July that such a timeframe was impossible.

TVO and Areva have traded accusations about who is to blame for the delays, and the International Chamber of Commerce's arbitration court is processing a dispute on cost overruns between the consortium and TVO....


How the Right-Wing's Infamous ALEC Is Attacking Renewable Energy Initiatives

How the Right-Wing's Infamous ALEC Is Attacking Renewable Energy Initiatives
An ALEC-backed bill, the "Electricity Freedom Act," calls for the nullification of any given state's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards.
January 15, 2013 |

Renewable energy is under attack in the Tar Heel State. That's the word from Greenpeace USA's Connor Gibson today in a report that implicates King Coal powerhouse, Duke Energy and the fossil fuel industry at-large.

The vehicle Duke Energy is utilizing for this attack is one whose profile has grown in infamy in recent years: the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

ALEC is described as a " corporate bill mill" by its critics. It's earned such a description because it passes " model bills" written by corporate lobbyists and to boot, the lobbyists typically do so behind closed doors at ALEC's annual meetings.

The ALEC-Duke Alernative Energy Attack

Gibson puts it bluntly in his exposé, explaning that North Carolina Republican Rep. Mike Hager "says he is confident that he has the votes needed to weaken or undo his state's [renewable] energy requirements during his second term."

Hager is a former Duke employee, where he ...


We don't need nuclear power to meet climate goals and keep the lights on

We don't need nuclear power to meet climate goals and keep the lights on
It would be a folly to think that there is no hope of tackling climate change without nuclear power

by Natalie Bennett, the leader of the UK Green party, and Caroline Lucas, the UK's first green MP

is there really no hope of tackling climate change without nuclear power? This is certainly what the nuclear industry wants us all to think. But analysis using the government's figures shows that we don't need nuclear power to meet climate goals and keep the lights on.

Renewable energies, together with combined heat and power, energy efficiency, smart grids, demand management and interconnection, are the building blocks of an alternative energy future. The path we take is a matter of political choice, not technological inevitability.

As for coal, the emissions performance standard in the energy bill should rule out all new unabated coal, although it needs strengthening to ensure the operation of any fossil fuel plant is compatible with the decarbonisation of the power sector by 2030.

Importantly, we also need to stop subsidising the fossil fuel industry. Coal, oil and gas have enjoyed decades of support that the renewables sector can only dream of.

And with the energy bill set to deliver a backdoor subsidy for nuclear...


Will Boeing’s 787 Battery Issues Ground Electric Vehicles, Too?

Will Boeing’s 787 Battery Issues Ground Electric Vehicles, Too?
Ryan Matley
February 4, 2013

Boeing has made big news in recent weeks, but for all the wrong reasons. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded Boeing’s flagship airplane, the fuel-efficient, next generation 787 Dreamliner. The problem isn’t its innovative carbon fiber construction, but rather a less heralded technologic leap: lithium ion batteries. In the span of one week a battery caught fire while a plane was at the gate in Boston and another forced an emergency landing and evacuation in Japan when it overheated. This marks the first grounding of an airplane type since the DC-10 in 1979.

Inevitably, news stories appeared connecting the 787’s battery troubles to past laptop battery fires and electric vehicles (EVs), reflexively highlighting the 2011 Chevy Volt fire that occurred following crash testing.

...Unlike electronics and aerospace batteries, electric vehicles do not use LiCoO2 chemistry, specifically because of its safety concerns. (Some 2,500 early Tesla Roadsters used LiCoO2 batteries designed with multiple safeguards, but the company has since switched to batteries with more stable chemistries.) Automakers have intentionally traded less energy density for better safety and lower cost (cobalt is expensive). Most electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids on the road use a lithium-manganese-spinel (LiMn2O4) chemistry. Some are adding a nickel-manganese-cobalt chemistry developed at Argonne National Lab to increase energy density.

...Does more stable lithium ion chemistry combined with the robust design of automotive batteries mean a 787-style battery meltdown will never occur in an EV? Of course not. The precise reason that lithium-ion batteries are used—their high energy density—increases the odds of a sudden energy release (aka fire). But that doesn’t mean electric vehicles are any less safe than internal combustion vehicles. For the last one hundred years cars have been carrying around gasoline, which has more than twice the energy density of lithium ion. Automakers have been able to minimize, but not eliminate (see the Ford Pinto) the risk of fire due to fuel leaks. In fact, I might prefer the on-road safety record of current automotive lithium-ion batteries, which have had zero reported fires in over 500 million miles driven. By comparison, gasoline vehicles have averaged nearly 65,000 vehicle fires that caused 300 fatalities per year between 2008 and 2010.


US shifting to a decentralised power system says FERC boss

Jon Wellinghoff is chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) - the Federal agency responsible for ensuring the nations energy supply.

US shifting to a decentralised power system says FERC boss
By Dr. Heather Johnstone Chief Editor

The US is moving away from an electricity generation system based on large, centralised power stations to a distributed generation or decentralised energy model.

...Solar photovoltaics (PV) is expected to play an important role in the “rapid expansion” of the US’ distributed generation sector, says Wellinghoff, as more and more households and businesses explore the feasibility of rooftops installations.

...Wellinghoff also believes that with the continuing low gas price in the US, on-site natural gas-fired cogeneration systems – both turbine and engine-based – will attract increasing interest by driving down energy costs compared to the traditional centralised generation system.

A key factor now driving this move, according to Wellinghoff, is the seeming prevalence of natural disasters hitting the US, including most recently Hurricane Sandy.

Wellinghoff concluded that ...


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